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Hatha Yoga

PIGEON – KAPOTASANA – beginner to advanced
Going into the pigeon:
From kneeling position on the mat sitting on heels, sit sideways to the left of your feet and extend the right leg back, toes pointed back. Support yourself with your hands beside you to help keep the spine upright and chest open. The left foot is in front of the right hip and outer left foot on mat. The left knee faces forward. Relax the right leg. Hold pose a few breaths then release and repeat on the opposite side.

Alternatively, from an inverted V position (hands on feet on mat with hips raised) swing the left leg forward, bending the knee forward and lower the body so that the left foot is in front of the right hip, and take the right leg back as above. Support with hands on mat as above. The spine is upright. Hold, release and repeat on the opposite side.

Taking it further to an advanced level – RajaKapotanasana:
Bend the right knee, catch hold of the inner right foot with the right hand. Place left hand on floor next to your left hip to help keep balance. Take your head back and pull the right foot close to the shoulder and turn the right elbow upward. Keep balance in upright position, using your legs to help the balance.

To come into full pose, bring the left arm over your head and left hand next to your right hand on your right foot. Aim to bring the right foot to the top of your head. You will be balancing on the back thigh and on the front leg. Hold, release and repeat on the opposite side.

Keep breathing rhythmically throughout the pigeon pose. As this is a pose involving much contraction of back muscles and opening of the chest, it is recommended to go to child’s pose following the pigeon.

• Develops spinal stretch and flexibility.
• Stretches the front of the body, sternum, ribs and chest open.
• Tones back muscles and helps develop a strong back.
• Increases stretch of knee and leg muscles.
• Helps develop excellent balance.

This yoga asana is an edited contribution for the Sivananda Gurugram partly sourced and edited from the Sivananda Publication : “Yoga: Your Home Practice Companion” – Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre – 2010.

Other yoga tips at

He lives in the hearts of all, who are true to their own heart, who are pure, virtuous and who serve all selflessly. – Swami Sivananda

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TYAGA – Renunciation
The mastery of the mind leads to the renunciation of all.

Chitta-Tyaga alone constitutes the renunciation of all. True renunciation lies in the abnegation of the mind. It consists in renouncing all desires and egoism and not world-existence. Through such a mental abnegation, you will be able to free yourself from all pain. Then will come immortality in life or enjoyment of the infinite delight of existence free from ego, founded on oneness of all in Brahman.

Renunciation of physical objects is no renunciation at all. The real Tyaga (renunciation) consists in the renunciation of egoism (Ahankara). If you can renounce this Ahankara, you have renounced everything else in the world.

Hope and Anticipation are the opposite of Vairagya and Tyaga.

Complete glossary can be found at:

Seek the Bliss Eternal in your own Atman. – Sri Swami Sivananda